CARY, N.C. (October 6, 2018) – Despite holding a 12-shot advantage, North Carolina FC found itself on the wrong end of a 2-1 result against New York Red Bulls II Saturday night in its regular-season home finale at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Over 8,820 attended Saturday’s match, the largest single-game regular-season crowd in NCFC history.
“Immensely disappointed with the outcome,” NCFC head coach Colin Clarke said. “Disappointed. We got into it, gave up a poor goal. Obviously red card right before halftime changes [things]. Second half, did very well. Great chances, get the goal, and then we pushed looking for the next one. Their keeper made some great saves and we missed some chances.”
NCFC was given an early test as Red Bulls II forward Anatole Bertrand-Abang found himself in on goal in the fourth minute. From a tight angle, Bertrand-Abang looked to put his team ahead, but NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis was up to the challenge and turned the shot away.
NCFC’s first great scoring opportunity of the night came in the 11th minute, as Kyle Bekker targeted Austin da Luz on a corner kick for a second straight week. Da Luz’s header, however, was off frame.
In the 24th minute, Bertrand-Abang gave the visitors the lead with a header on a corner kick.
It was nearly an instant response from NCFC, as da Luz played in a service to target man Donovan Ewolo, who controlled the ball with his chest and then fired up on frame, only to see his effort handled by Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro.
NCFC went into the halftime break down a goal but received a boost when Red Bulls II’s Bertrand-Abang was shown a red card following an off-the-ball incident after the halftime whistle.
Energized by its unexpected man-advantage, NCFC came out flying to start the second half. The team’s stretch of offensive pressure was made worthwhile by Bekker’s match-tying goal in the 52nd minute.
After receiving a cross from Zach Steinberger, Bekker finished from close range as his shot from the right side of the box deflected off the left crossbar into the net. The goal was Bekker’s third in two games.
In the 63rd minute, a menacing ball sent in by Bekker from the corner flag produced a jumble in the box, and Steven Miller nearly scored from the ground, but Red Bulls II’s Louro reacted quickly and blocked the effort.
Miller remained active in the NCFC attack and played in a great ball to Ewolo, who headed the shot on target in the 75 minute. Unfortunately for the NCFC striker, his pacey header went right to Louro.
Against the run of play, Red Bulls II retook the lead in the 78th minute with a tap-in from second-half substitute Tom Barlow.
From that point on, NCFC earned the better of the chances but was unable to find a second goal.
A trip to Kentucky to take on Louisville City FC on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET awaits NCFC. The match was originally scheduled for March 24 but couldn’t be played because of poor field conditions.
In June, NCFC earned a 2-2 draw at home against Louisville City, as Daniel Rios recorded a brace to help his team earn a point. Louisville City (16W-6L-9D) is in third place in the Eastern Conference with 57 points.
– Marios Lomis came on as a substitute in the 43rd minute to replace an injured Austin da Luz.
– Kyle Bekker wore the captain’s armband following da Luz’s departure late in the first half.
– With his goal Saturday night, Kyle Bekker now has seven in 2018, tied for the second-most on the team.
– Lomis, Dre Fortune and Daniel Rios each appeared as substitutes for NCFC.
NCFC (4-5-1):Alex Tambakis; DJ Taylor, Aaron Guillen, Wuilito Fernandes, Steven Miller; Austin da Luz © (Marios Lomis, 43’), Graham Smith, Zach Steinberger (Daniel Rios, 82’), Victor Igbekoyi (Dre Fortune, 70’), Kyle Bekker; Donovan Ewolo
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin, Peabo Doue
NY (4-3-3): Evan Louro; Allen Yanes, Kevin Politz, Hasan Ndam, Ethan Kutler; Christopher Lema, Steven Echevarria (Tom Barlow, 46’), Andrew Tinari ©; Jared Stroud (Lucas Stauffer, 80’), Anatole Bertrand-Abang, Amando Moreno (Jordan Scarlett, 87’)
Subs not used: Scott Levene, Niko De Vera, Andrew Lombard, Jared Juleau
NCFC: Kyle Bekker (Zach Steinberger, 52’)
NY: Anatole Bertrand-Abang (Unassisted, 24’), Tom Barrow (Unassisted, 78’)
NCFC: Aaron Guillen 45’+
NY: Anatole Bertrand-Abang 45’+